Over the past seven years, blogging has become my writing’s late stages. I’ve discovered that most of my writing starts in my journal or in the margins of my books. When I work on them some, they became blog posts. When I like the posts over time, they became my blog’s permanent pages. So my blog has grown into a kind of museum, and I recently found myself hating it.
I value my blog’s portfolio aspect — its emphasis on showcasing static pages. I don’t like most blog archives because no care is normally taken to select which old posts stay on a blog site or which of the survivors get emphasized. Under most blogging platforms, everything ever written is archived and given equal weight. It’s not for me. I want my blog to showcase the best I’ve posted there, and I want the rest gone.
So portfolios showcase. But as I’ve studied portfolios as part of a school district committee this year, my understanding of a portfolio’s potential has grown. A writer’s portfolio helps her collect and then select her work, but it also helps her reflect on her writing. She can demonstrate to herself and to others her evolving writing process and the burden each stage takes on in carrying a piece to maturity. She can have places to show her sloppiest work, sometimes her most creative work.
That’s what I want to starting doing again here. I want my blogging to share some of the fun I’ve had in my journal over the past year or so. I have to risk being faster and less polished. Using Sideblog, a smart WordPress widget Dave Bonta turned me on to recently, I’ve started Marginal, which is a somewhat separate blog in the margin of my main blog. I hope to replicate the sense of spontaneity and discovery I find when writing in the margins of the books I read. (I’ve decided to have my site’s RSS feed incorporates Marginal posts, for better or worse.)
I’ve also deliberately made my blog’s new design busier and less clean — less stately, I guess — than the design I’ve used for the past three years. I did that for the same reasons, principally — to get my early writing stages online, and to make blogging fun for me again.
I’ve also switched to a blogging platform for the first time in order to automate the laborious steps I had to take each time I wanted to post something on my handmade blog. I’ve also replaced my old “passages” digests of my friends’ best blog posts with an RSS feed of my blogroll members’ posts. That should save time, too, and keep the column from getting stale.